The Fox Bay Cinema Grill marquee lights up the theater's outdoor marble ticket kiosk, transporting moviegoers to a bygone era of the silver screen. Renovated in 2000, the spacious art-deco theater drapes its large screens in scarlet curtains, and wraparound, swivel lounge chairs and tables wait to support patrons as they immerse themselves in the digital sound and projection pouring forth from the latest Hollywood hits. The theater doesn't only sate the imagination's appetite with lush filmscapes; servers shell out light finger foods and hearty pizzas and sandwiches throughout the movie, quieting growling bellies that may otherwise spoil the film's ending. Though not included with this deal, alcohol is available via Fox Bay's wait staff and at the lobby bar.
Waves creeping onto a sandy shoreline. The sun dipping into the glassy horizon. The sound of laughter and clinking bottles. These are the sort of recollections Big Bay Brewing wants to evoke with each sip of its frosty beers. The master brewers use natural ingredients, such as proprietary yeast and real sugar, while concocting the tasty pours that comprise their menu of small-batch seasonal ales and year-round staples.
Big Bay Brewing's tasting room and retail center also prompts visitors to recall memories of relaxing vacations with its teakwood tables, crackling fireplace, and confused tourists standing around with maps. Those enamored with the tasting room—described by Shepherd Express as decorated with boathouse adornments and daubed in aquatic blues—can rent out part or all of the space for holiday parties, fundraisers, and other gatherings.
Visitors lean close to the cooled case at Wisconsin Cheese Mart, admiring a rainbow of dairy products, from the sunshine-yellow of cheddars to the crimson wax husks of full wheels. Since 1938, the shop’s staff has been accumulating an array of Wisconsin goods, and currently presides over more than 175 varieties of cheese. This impressive inventory has earned the store CityVoter’s pick as Best Cheese Shop and a mention in the New York Times. Every Friday and Saturday, fresh bundles of cheese curds arrive to rest alongside cheddar aged for up to 15 years and havarti dill. As patrons stroll through the shop, located in a grocery building constructed in 1895, they can nosh on free samples or ask the experienced cheesemongers to recommend pairings and explain why swiss cheese is ideal for picnics in wind tunnels. The crew shows off the selection at a cheese bar, where they also compile charcuterie plates and pour more than two dozen Wisconsin beers from breweries including Sprecher, Lakefront, and New Glarus.
Inspired by the popular television show and designed by the creators of The Great Milwaukee Race, The Amazing Milwaukee Race on Bikes sends teams of two pedaling across the city to complete activities, solve puzzles, and pass checkpoints. Along 20- and 40-mile courses crisscrossed through streets, bike lanes, and trails, competitors blur past businesses and landmarks on a sequential scavenger hunt that tests physical endurance, mental foresight, and each team's ability to communicate via bicycle horn. Clues scattered throughout the route offer guidance, but can only be earned after participants unscramble words or unravel answers to challenges. When certain clues prove to be particularly troubling, race organizers encourage teams to use surrounding resources—local passersby, telephones, or the internet—to their advantage. Although the race prohibits certain forms of transit, including private cars and quantum jumping, teams can consistently keep moving on bike, foot, or public transportation.
Even with the ambitious goal of trying a new variety every night, it would take months to sample every single beer at Stubby’s Gastrogrub & Beer Bar. Not only are there 53 different drafts and an array of cellar reserve bottles, but the selection is constantly updated with new craft brews from Wisconsin and around the world. Beer-savvy bartenders make their own recommendations behind the circular center bar as servers deliver trays of imaginative gastropub dishes—crab-stuffed jalapeños, freshwater bluegill sliders, and the hefty burger lauded by reporters from A.V. Club Milwaukee as “drool-inducing.” When not toppling giant Jenga blocks or throwing darts, guests can gaze up at the flat-screen televisions and cheer when a hardened banker learns to love in a Lifetime movie. The massive wooden deck gives al fresco enthusiasts space to linger over bites of cod tacos and barbecue pork nachos.
It's rare for museums to have cozy dining rooms, but the Charles Allis Art Museum wasn't always a museum. Earlier in the 20th century, it was businessman and arts patron Charles Allis's Tudor-style mansion. Allis bequeathed it to the public along with his massive art collection, though, and nowadays, visitors can stop by to see pieces that span 2,000 years. Some highlights? Works by Winslow Homer, Classic antiquities, a large collection of Asian ceramics, plus rotating exhibits by local Wisconsin artists.
The Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum nestles in a historic mansion, too, albeit a different one. This one was built in the likeness of an Italian Renaissance villa in 1923, by architect David Adler. Its art spans a smaller period, from the 15th century through to the 18th. Visitors can browse wrought-iron work by Cyril Colnik, and explore a formal, outdoor Renaissance garden.